Floaters, those seemingly elusive specks or cobweb-like shapes drifting through your field of vision, are a common visual phenomenon. These minuscule clumps of cells or condensations of gel-like substance cast shadows on the retina, leading to the perception of these floaters. They often become more noticeable when viewing a bright background or well-lit area.
Causes and Nature: Behind the Drifting Specks
Floaters are primarily caused by age-related changes in the vitreous humor—a gel-like substance that fills the eye. As we age, the vitreous may liquefy and separate from the retina, resulting in the formation of floaters. While generally harmless, the sudden appearance of new floaters or an increase in their number may indicate more serious issues such as retinal detachment. If you experience such symptoms, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial.
Treatment Options: Addressing Disruption in Vision
While most floaters do not require treatment, severe cases that hinder vision can be managed through interventions such as laser therapy or surgical procedures. Laser vitreolysis involves using a laser to break down floaters, making them less noticeable. Surgical options might include vitrectomy, a procedure in which the vitreous gel is removed and replaced with a clear solution.
Urgency of Care: Recognizing Red Flags
It is important to note that the sudden onset of new floaters, especially accompanied by flashes of light or changes in peripheral vision, could signal a retinal detachment—a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. Early intervention can prevent further complications and preserve your vision. If you notice these symptoms, contact Red Cliffs Eye Center promptly at 435-634-0420. Regular eye exams with our optometrist, Dr. Reed Gibb, are also recommended to monitor any changes in your eye health and address potential concerns. Learn more about floaters by calling our eye center in St. George, Utah, today.